Issue #006, Autumn, 2020 ISSN: 2581- 9410
70 years of policy and practice
Indian society is still governed by a rigid hierarchy, and evidence of this appears in every social structure. This explains the lowly status of the crafts in India and the impoverishment of craft communities who have to compete with mass produced industrial products today. The government school curriculum and timetable also reveals the status of art and craft education clearly in its hierarchical structure. Morning classes, when children are bright and rested are reserved for mathematics, science and language, while art and craft education and other ‘co-curricular’ activities are relegated to Friday afternoons, at the end of a tiring working school week. Need one say more?
Though this is the prevalent reality, it is shocking that the school curriculum does not reflect the highly commendable and valuable recommendations made in National Educational Policies over the last 80 years. If we go back to the pre-independence era, great thinkers like Rabindranath Tagore, who set up Santiniketan in 1901, offered a creative alternative to the British School system. Tagore’s understanding of the role of arts in education was clear:
‘Literature, music, and the arts, are all necessary for the development and flowering of a student to form an integrated total personality.’